Portimão City Guide
Portimãois popular not only as a summer destination, but also throughout the year. Somepopular events worth catching are the annual New Year festivities, the
There’splenty to do, so there’s no danger of a dull moment in Portimão.Get your blood pumping with a parachute jump; flights take off from theMunicipal Aerodromo. The Autodromo do Algarve is a well-known motor racingcircuit, great for racing fans. Then there’s the Ocean Revival Project, thelargest artificial reef in the world. Created from the deliberate sinking of fourPortuguese Navy Warships, this is an ideal spot for diving.
The Carthaginiansare thought to have founded Portimão around 550BC. Situated where the River Arade meets the ocean, this port was ideal fortravel and trade with Silves, which was the ancient capital of the Algarve. Theprosperity of the commerce led Portimão to obtainthe status of town in 1435.
In the 19th Century,the fishing preservation industry turned this town into one of the mostimportant fishing and packing centres in the Algarve. It was an importantfishing town, making most of its money through the trade until the 20thCentury.
1910 saw theopening of the Praia da Rocha Casino, and the numbers of tourists visiting thecity started to grow. Today it is a hugely popular destination forholidaymakers looking for beautiful beaches and shopping, water sports andother water-based recreation.
The Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição was first built in the 15th Century and renovated in the 19th Century. Here you can see a beautiful baroque retableon the altar, the statue of St. Peter the Apostle and impressive glazed tiles.
The JesuitCollege is the biggest church in the Algarve, featuring a Manueline doorwayfrom the 16th Century, impressive gilded canings and a renaissancestatue of the Virgin and Child.
The ManuelBivar garden is a highlight of any trip to Portimão.With the Faro Island providing a stunning backdrop, you can enjoy a leisurelywalk with the locals under the string of palm trees that dominate the garden.
Praia da Rocha Beach
This sandybeach is sheltered by cliffs and offers beautiful views over the bay. Withbars, public toilets, car parks, lifeguards and a health centre, it has all youneed for a pleasant day out at the beach. The Marina can be found at theeastern end of Praia da Rocha, close to the river mouth. You’ll also find the fortressof Santa Catarina around here, which provides dreamy views over the sea.
Food and Drinks
The localdishes are rich in flavour and packed full of fresh seafood. Make sure you trythe clam and fish stews, cooked up with with tomatoes and onions, and thebarbequed sardines. Leave some room for desert and try the figs and almonds Algarveanpastries. The local brandy known as “medronho” is also one of a kind and is aperfect way to cap off your meal.
Shoppingmalls like Aqua Portimão or Continente are the places to go for shopping forthe bigger brands and boutique shops. The market on Avenida São João de Deus,with its more traditional shops, is great for souvenirs and local crafts.